TC18 IV-18 VFD Russian Tube Clock by Jason von Nieda

Pt 2763
THE CLOCKTC18 IV-18 VFD Russian Tube Clock by Jason von Nieda, now on eBay

This auction is for one TC18 clock, custom made by Jason von Nieda. The TC18 started as a random picture seen on the Internet and over the course of several months took shape into the beautiful, working piece you see here. For the entire history of this piece including videos and more photos please see it’s homepage at and the story of how it came to be at

The TC18 for sale in this auction is one of six total TC18 clocks that were made. This is the only one that will be sold. The others have been given as gifts to close friends and family and, of course, one is mine.

The TC18 clock is based around a vintage Russian IV-18 vacuum florescent display tube. These tubes have not been made for 20 years or more and the one in this clock is “new old” stock; meaning that it has been in storage since these tubes were in production. Before being installed in this clock it has never been used. 

The TC18 is approximately 7.50″ wide by 2.25″ tall by 2.00″ deep. It makes an excellent desk or mantle clock and the display is bright and easily read from across a room.

The electronics of the clock are completely custom designed by me and are “Open Source”. You can download the schematic and board layout from my web site if you are interested in hacking the clock. The clock runs custom firmware, also written by me and the firmware is also Open Source. You can download, modify and load it onto the clock to change any aspect of how it operates. The core of the electronics is a ATmega328P running an Arduino compatible bootloader. The clock is set and controlled by a rotary encoder type switch on the back. It has a full menu system that allows you to set the date, time, display mode, overall brightness and brightness of individual digits of the display.

The enclosure of the TC18 is made from aluminum sheet and tube. The sheet parts were cut on my small 3 axis CNC milling machine. The tube parts were shaped mostly by hand and were hand polished to a bright, almost mirror finish. The perforated / mesh parts on the ends of the TC18 and the sheet end plates were anodized and dyed black and have a very deep, matte finish. Other components of the enclosure are steel bolts, rubber o-rings and plastic spacers.

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1 Comment

  1. Ohhh – I’m going to watch that auction. Curiosity has me wanting to know what it will sell for! My guess? Over $2k!

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